Our yes and no

By: Fr. Roy Cimagala

LET’S be reminded always of what Christ once said. “Letyour ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more thanthese is from the evil one.” (Mt 5,37)

Our life in a nutshell can be summarized with these words.We need to say ‘Yes’ always to God, and ‘No’ to the enemies of God andof our soul, namely, our weakened flesh, the sinful allurements of theworld, and the devil himself.

If we follow by this divine dictum, for sure our life willbe made simpler and happier, meaningful and fruitful, because then wewould be living our life according to God’s will and ways, which isproper to us since our life is meant to be a life with God.

This means that we have to know God very well, somethingthat we can do—of course, in a gradually progressive way—by readingthe gospel and availing ourselves of the other sources of our faith.

Such knowledge would transform us and prod us to conformour thoughts, words and deeds to God’s will and ways. We would knowwhat things are from God and what things are not.

We therefore can never exaggerate this need of knowing Godas best as we can. We need to do everything to develop a systematicway of growing in our knowledge of God.

It’s important that we be quick to distinguish betweenwhat are God’s and what are not God’s. Especially in these days ofrapid developments when the line between good and evil is gettingblurred and grayish, and the forces of good and evil are in suchconstant battle as to often leave us confused and bewildered, we needto develop a sharp sense of discernment.

Of course, it should be a sense of discernment that iseffective in the context of a very dynamic world. We are not anymoreliving in a simple world where black is black and white is white,where innovations are threatening to wipe out traditions, where agrowing culture of relativism is undermining the legitimacy of theabsolute.

And one good way of developing this sense of discernmentis to follow what Christ himself suggested to his disciples once: “Ifanyone wants to be my disciple, he must deny himself, take up hiscross and follow me.” (Mt 16,24)

We need to say ‘Yes’ to this command of Christ and learnto say ‘No’ to ourselves. This means that we have to conform our willto Christ’s will and to say ‘No’ to our own will. We have to rememberthat our will that is not in conformity with Christ’s will is a willthat is out on a limb. Sooner or later it will only do evil and endbadly.

We have to concretize this ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ in our life. Wehave to say ‘Yes’ to a time of prayer, recourse to the sacraments,generosity in sacrifices, continuing development of virtues. We haveto say ‘No’ to all forms of self-indulgence no matter how legitimatethese forms of self-indulgence may appear to us.

We have to say ‘Yes’ to love of God and others, fidelityto our vocation, responsibility to our duties, recourse to continuingmeans of formation, no matter the effort and discomfort they mayinvolve. We have to say ‘No’ to impulse buying and impulse access tothe Internet and the new technologies.

In the latter case, it might be a good idea to put clearlimits, like opening the cell phone once or twice per hour only, or toput it away when we are already in bed which should be a time ofintense prayer and presence of God.

We have to say ‘Yes’ to the clear indication of ourconscience and ‘No’ when we start to haggle, bargain, argue with ourconscience and start to rationalize. Temptations should be shot downimmediately, not giving it any foothold…

Email: roycimagala@gmail.com